My Origin Story: Veronica Njodinizeh
Generation Titans' "My Origin Story" is part of ongoing series to feature talented, innovative, and dope entrepreneurs of color (EOC). We are providing a platform where founders and creatives can tell their stories in their own voice and in their own unique way. These stories are not highlight reels, although they do highlight success. Also, these stories are not focused on only the hardships, obstacles, and racial inequality that entrepreneurs of color face, although they do squarely address these challenges. Today, Generation Titans catches up with Veronica Njodinizeh to hear more about her origin story and her journey as an entrepreneur.
Stories like Veronica's are American stories that push the culture forward, spark conversation and connections in the startup ecosystem, and also inspire a younger generation of entrepreneurs. These stories and the founders are a counter narrative. Through "My Origin Story," Generation Titans is proving that the pipeline of EOCs exists--despite the media's prevailing deficit narrative about entrepreneurs of color.
WHO IS Veronica Njodinizeh?
I am from the sands and red clay dirt
From biriyani paste and jollof rice
I am poured out from where the river Niger meets Indian Ocean
But always living in the comma
I am from the muck from which the lotus blooms
Purpose birthed in conditions meant to destroy
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND HOW HAS THAT SHAPED YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE?
I was born in an old fisherman’s town near the shores of the Indian Ocean to a loving mother and family. My mother’s sacrifice and love have been a huge driving force behind who I am and becoming. I have always known real love and never had the need to search for it in the world but look for ways every day to share this priceless gift with those who I meet on my path.
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT SOCIAL MEDIA WON'T TELL US ABOUT YOU?
That I am a living walking breathing miracle EVERYDAY of my life. I wake up everyday to a hand-written note on my wall with the question “How do I die today?” How do I unload myself, my desires, my wants, my fears, to make way for the detours and blessings so that I can be shaped for greater works. To do what I believe I am meant to do, I use Rick Warren’s first line in his book The Purpose Driven Life as my mantra: It’s not about you.
HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY AS A FOUNDER SHAPED WHAT YOU'RE DOING AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I am getting ready to formally launch the company but haven’t quite settled on a name yet. It will more than likely include my unique Nigerian last name (thanks to my dad) as part of my brand. I am currently operating as an Independent Consultant, choosing the projects that align with my purpose AND pay (don’t play). My personal journey finding this path to launch out on my own really found me. I was spending an intense 40- days seeking God and wise counsel about where I wanted to take my next career move. I had built experiential equity in project management, strategy, branding /marketing & sales working in big 4 consulting and a WHOLE lotta (yes lotta) emotional intelligence and grit burying my mother. I developed these skills while dealing with crazy people between work and the judicial system that had resigned to incarcerate my brother before he was even born. I wanted to take all that experience my tragedy, testimony, and trial by fire professional skills and do something big!
I received an email from a recruiter with the email subject line: Manage with Purpose in the FUSE Fellowship. This opportunity served as a catalyst for me to work as an independent consultant to lead the work of My Brother’s Keeper at the City of Long Beach- a call to action by my President Barack Obama which will now remain the core of my lifetime work. As an independent consultant, I can work on my terms to fund the work I care most about.
I am big believer that when you seek- you will find or be found.
WHAT HAS DRIVEN YOU TO DO WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW?
In my favorite, life-changing book The Purpose Driven Life, author and Pastor Rick Warren says that you will find your purpose usually in your greatest tragedy.
My mother was found murdered in her home and the young fifteen year old teenage boy convicted for her death was my brother, her son.
My God, my Christ King, gave me the testimony I asked for the night before. I am using my greatest tragedy to help change the trajectory of young men and boys of color to shut down the school to prison pipeline.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR SIXTEEN YEAR OLD SELF?
I would tell my 16-year-old self to not want to grow up so fast- to enjoy being the child of my sweet mama and an annoying older sister to my little brother. That’s it okay to make mistakes if own them and learn from them.
WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I have been reading and studying Madame’s Guyon’s, A Short and Easy Method of Prayer. I must take this book in small doses. I am also wrapping up for the second time in group study The Good and Beautiful God by Dr. James Bryan Smith who shuts down the false narratives imposed on the lives of Christians. I highly recommend this one. I have also picked up Van Jones’ Beyond the Messy Truth.
WHAT ALBUMS OR SONGS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE ON HEAVY ROTATION?
Total honesty. My son and I are taking advantage of our Public Library Hoopla app and are rotating the ‘clean version’ of the Black Panther movie soundtrack. And just for me, on repeat Sabrina Claudio’s Belong to You featuring 6Black (And yes, I have forgiven her for her trollin’ days of past).
WHAT DOES SELF-CARE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Beach. Book. Bum. I am all jelly on the inside and a big kid when it comes to anything by water, spa days, massages, and binge watching my favorite shows in a robe at a luxury hotel. I sometimes miss my corporate Amex card days traveling the world.
What has been your greatest challenge in pursuing your path to entrepreneurship and how have you/ are taking steps to overcome it?
For me it’s the mental challenge of not necessarily the fear of failing but actually succeeding. What will this mean?! I do believe to ‘whom much is given- much is expected’ and I want to be in my right mind to step up and be a good steward of my blessings.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ON THE INTERNETS?
I am still building my site and brand strategy (OMG it has to be perfect?!) but I would love to connect with other idea/entrepreneurs on LinkedIn as I grow my professional network.
Connect with me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronica-njodinizeh-b8767212/